Personal branding is becoming more important for practically every digital marketing channel, from SEO to social media marketing. People are constantly bombarded with advertising, leading to a white noise effect that makes them filter out most of what they encounter. Add that to the fact that modern consumers are distrustful of corporations, and you have corporate brands struggling to effectively communicate to wide audiences.
For many brands, personal branding is the solution to this problem. By leveraging the power of individuals, corporate brands can earn more trust from their followers and get more visibility for their content. The trick is to develop real, personal identities that gain authority over time in your industry on multiple platforms.
One of the best platforms to use for this personal brand building is LinkedIn. Because LinkedIn is based around individual professionals, it has some of the best opportunities to build your authority. Here’s how to do it:
First, you’ll have to optimize your profile for a personal brand. Be honest as you fill out your individual details, listing past experiences and current skills, but be sure to include keywords that are relevant to your industry, and pack as much detail as you can into as little space as possible. Write like a human being—don’t just stuff your profile full of different keywords—but do make sure it’s obvious what your relationship to the industry is. Also make sure your profile image is a professional, friendly headshot, and try not to leave any fields blank.
Groups on LinkedIn are the best places to make new connections and learn new information. Use LinkedIn’s intuitive search function to find Groups that are relevant to your industry or your specific realm of expertise. Here, you’ll be able to start and participate in discussions and learn from other experts in your industry. Over time, as you engage in more and more discussions, you’ll become recognized as an authority in your space. The more authority you have, the more influential you’ll become, and the more people you’ll be able to reach when you post content or links back to your site.
LinkedIn should be a machine for you to publish and syndicate the core content related to your brand. On a personal profile, you’ll be able to post individual stories or links to articles, but if you want to make a greater impact, you can go beyond those means. Get involved with posting content in your LinkedIn Groups. Remember, there’s a separate section designated specifically for promotions, so make sure all your posted content is both relevant and informative. Plus, the more often you syndicate your content and get it shared on LinkedIn, the more SEO benefits your domain will receive.
Influencers are the gatekeepers of the social world. They have the greatest number of connections, the most authority in each group, and the greatest capacity for getting new visibility for both your individual profile and your corporate brand. Forging connections with these social mavericks is the key to jumpstarting your own range of influence, particularly in the beginning of your campaign. Look for influencers in your Groups—they’ll be the ones frequently starting conversations and the ones who seem to have the most authority. Check out their individual profiles—they’ll also likely have a large number of existing connections. Share their content, and they’ll likely share yours, bringing new attention to your information, and in the meantime, just engage them in conversation! They’re great contacts to have.
Influencers aren’t the only people worth connecting with on LinkedIn. While the sheer number of connections you have doesn’t correspond to your overall impact, having a greater number of connections can do wonders for building your authority. As such, reach out to everyone you can as a potential connection, including your current coworkers, anyone you meet in person, and anyone you engage in the context of LinkedIn Groups. Just be aware that some people like to remain private and do not take kindly to random connection requests. Remain courteous and do not spam your connections.
Whether you’re posting a guest article or starting a new conversation, take every opportunity you can to call back to your site. Post links when you can, as long as they’re directly relevant and helpful to the conversation thread, and don’t be afraid to throw around extra brand mentions. Whatever you can do to shift attention to your corporate brand will be helpful as long as you aren’t spamming the other users.
Like with any marketing strategy, personal branding requires adjustment in order to be successful. Experiment with your current tactics for a few weeks and measure the results. Then, make a few small tweaks and measure the next round of results. If they’ve improved, make further changes. If they haven’t, revert back to normal and try a few different changes. Continue with this procedure, making slight adjustments in small batches, until you eventually reach a nice stasis point of continuous growth. Try new things often, and learn from any mistakes or hiccups you experience along the way.
LinkedIn isn’t the only platform you should be using to build your brand, but it is one of the most effective ones you can start with. Be sure to get your Facebook and Twitter profile in order as well, and set up an independent outside blog to create and host your ongoing content. Within a few months, you’ll be well on your way to being an established authority in the area.